Unplanned Panic…

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There’s been a slight set back. A blip. A temporary bump in the road. A bit of back story will help make sense of how I got to watching Greys Anatomy on the iPad, still shaking, trying to get my heart rate to calm back down to pre panic attack state.

On New Years Day we were involved in a minor car accident. We were all fine, and luckily the driver who went into the back of us swerved to avoid us taking the full impact. In terms of injuries, the kids were unaffected, my husband had some soft tissue damage to his lower back and I hurt my neck and left shoulder from where I had twisted round towards the children just before we were hit. Physically, we were ok.

Cut to a week later and I’m struggling to sleep because of the back and neck pain. Which is fine, although difficult. A car then cut us up at a roundabout a couple of days later and I freaked out, with a way bigger reaction than necessary. Nightmares of a car coming towards my children were three or four times a week occurrence. I became very jumpy, and my nerves were frayed. I avoid getting in the car, I’ve become really overly protective of the girls.

After a couple of really bad nights sleep I ended up bursting into tears at the Dr’s surgery because I was so worried that the lack of sleep would lead to epilepsy problems that my stress levels were through the roof.

In the meantime, physio was arranged for both my husband and I. I had my initial assessment and it went ok, we chatted through it all and a referral was put through for both my wrists which I’d hit on impact to make sure a break from a few years ago wasn’t problematic. I was then booked in for my next session of physio the day after my birthday this week. (I’m 33 now. Yelp.)

To try and work through some particularly tender knots in my neck and shoulder the physio used an ultrasound for some deep tissue massage. I remember it hurting, and then…and then my husband was there and I was being taken home. I apparently then sat in the bath without water for a while, and I’ve been full of a headache with really tense muscles since. Something tells me the physio’s good work may well have been set back slightly.

The ripple effect from the minor prang is, I know, hugely not a big deal. But it feels devastating. I was on track, I was on the road to improving my wellbeing after a couple of turbulent health years. I was jogging, I was using mindfulness for a few leftover anxiety issues and post pregnancy stress issues.

So why am I sitting up in bed at 1am shaking and trying to get my heart rate back down with a paper bag next to me tonight? Well, the seizure was yesterday. So today I haven’t felt very well, exhausted, and in pain. And emotionally struggling as I really thought I was done with epilepsy being an active issue. This evening my husband went to Swindon for work and after the kids were in bed I sat watching TV and (ironically) reading through my mindfulness apps.

And then I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. And running across my living room floor bed as brass was a freaking rat. Without warning my panic level went sky high. I’ve only felt that panicked once before in my life. And that was when I walked onto my holiday balcony and saw a body hanging in an apartment down from ours. Yes, it was horrendous, and likely one of the main reasons I went into a forensics/criminology career path. And I know it seems hugely dramatic to compare the two events but my nerves are currently so shot to shreds, that I went into full fight or flight. And like the Summer of 2003, my main worry was that if panic took over I would have a seizure and I was on my own and so needed to deal with this situation. When I saw the rat, my husband was about 40 mins away on his way home. It ran underneath the sofa, so I walked to the stairs so I could see both sides of the sofa. I called pest control and was told that someone would be round in about 25 mins with a terrier dog trained to track and get rid of vermin. Whilst on the phone, the rat went from under the couch into the kitchen. The sight of it again did not help my panic. I could tell I was on the verge of hyperventilating so I called my Dad (I didn’t want to call my husband and worry him while driving), to try and keep as calm as possible and so that if I did have a seizure, there would be someone on the phone who would recognise it and be able to do something. I also called my brother who came over as I’m quite nervous of dogs, and although I’m ok with most dogs these days, the idea of being on my own while a dog came in specifically to attack something while I was already in such a state, did not fill me with confidence.

My husband arrived just before pest control did. The noise of dog vs rat is not something that will leave me quickly. While the ‘eviction’ took place, I sat on the stairs trying to calm down, and made a list on my phone of all the things I needed to bleach.

I am not a nervous, panicky person. I am not frightened of spiders, or mice, or (until today) rats. I am a good person to have in an emergency. I keep calm. People call me when they’re in a panic. I am not the person who can’t sleep because she can still hear rats or because I’m panicking that both children are in some kind of danger.

We were in a minor car prang on New Years Day, and the chain reaction has me a quivering wreck, terrified to put my feet down from the bed and unable to go to sleep with an appointment with the epilepsy nurse to up my dosage. Which means I can’t look into learning to drive (one of my 2018 goals), I’ve had to stop jogging, and I’m on a waiting list for trauma related therapy. Not to mention that I’ve now become terrified about any epileptic issues when I’m with my kids. All in all, the minor prang feels rather major now.

It’s a blip, but it feels like such a massive one tonight while I try and ignore the feeling of needing the toilet because I don’t want to go anywhere else in the house. And although I thought I was on the other end of issues like this. I want to bring my girls up to know that life will throw many bumps in the road, and as important as it is to keep going, it’s also important to make sure to heal as you go. And that healing needs it’s time as much as the braving it.

My Dad and husband both said they were proud about how I dealt with it. Which seems laughable, I hyperventilated, panicked and practically pulled multiple muscles by shaking and being so tense. But, I called pest control and I kept someone on the phone with me and stayed so I could see where the rat went. And did everything I needed to without screaming and waking the kids or losing track of the rat etc etc. And I didn’t have a seizure. So it can be considered a win. But I’m still going to call the Dr tomorrow to ask if there’s anything I can maybe have to help my nerves because tonight has proved that it is most definitely out of control.

It’s a slight set back, a blip. And I’m writing a blog post and watching Greys Anatomy to keep my mind busy. I’m so upset about it all, but I’ll manage it. And I’ll show my girls that it’s ok to struggle and it’s ok to need help as long as you don’t give up on yourself.

So my healthy, active, putting the past troublesome three years behind me is not the bump free road that I was planning for. But the easy road is a boring one anyway….

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